Editorial

As the justice system runs its course...

Friday, November 08, 2019

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The witness statements read in court on Wednesday in the case of five men charged with the brutal murders and beheadings of 40-year-old Ms Charmaine Rattray and her 19-year-old daughter Ms Joyette Lynch in July 2011 give a chilling insight into the demented minds of the brute beasts that continue to unleash terror on this country.

According to one of the men, he had no choice but to participate in what was a premeditated and most gruesome murder.

“Either, I was involved or I would be killed. Is not something that I wishfully wanted to take part of. I know, I was dealing with some serious people. It was either I go or I die,” the man is reported to have said in his witness statement read in court by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Ms Paula Llewellyn.

That man is among three of the accused who have pleaded guilty.

The accused man explained that he was called and told that Ms Rattray and Ms Lynch were to die because they had earlier witnessed the similarly horrific murder of another man, Mr Scott Thomas, in their St Catherine community. The mother and daughter, the callous criminals determined, “talk too much”.

That one of the accused men was related to Ms Lynch, yet went about mutilating her in such a brutal manner is more than enough to sicken the stomach.

But that is the characteristic of the barbarians who believe that life is theirs to take, that they have the right to determine where people live and how we are allowed to conduct our businesses.

One of the accused men has admitted in his witness statement that he was tormented by his actions to the point where he was having sleepless nights. If that is true, he is deserving of that torture because his villainous actions left a family and community in deep pain. And let us not kid ourselves, the bloodthirsty actions of that night were not only designed to rob people of their lives, they were meant to spread fear.

The DPP, in response to the accused men's statements, pointed out that “duress is not a defence to murder”. The men, she argued in court, “knew they were going on a move to cause death, even if they did not indicate that they did the chopping or the shooting”.

“They were all there aiding and abetting… they were in common design to cause the death of these women,” Ms Llewellyn said.

So, the three men have pleaded guilty to non-capital murder. The other two accused have pleaded not guilty to murder and are now on trial which, we trust, will be fair.

In the case of the three who have pleaded guilty, if their remorse is genuine, we suggest that as they serve their time in prison they should be utilised to speak to young people who are exhibiting delinquent behaviour, as well as those who would be considered prime targets for gangsters.

If they can prevent even one young person from going down the road they have travelled, then the effort would be worth the investment.


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